The City Councils of Penang Launches Malaysia’s First IoT-Enabled Smart Parking Systems for More than 36,000 Parking Spaces
Penang 2030 is a vision of the Penang State Government to improve environmental, financial, and social aspects of urban life with smart city initiatives. As a Penang 2030 initiative, the City Councils of Penang (MBPP & MBSP) needed a Smart Parking solution to improve parking space availability and utilisation for the community, reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions, and streamline parking payments for citizens.
MBPP & MBSP worked with HeiTech Padu Berhad on a Smart Parking System for Penang’s outdoor parking bays. An IoT-enabled surface mounted sensor in each parking bay, connected to the 0G Network, shares data to a dashboard confirming when a bay is occupied. The dashboard is visible to citizens via a mobile app and shows parking availability and processes payments.
Benefits of the Penang’s Smart Parking System include:
- 50 percent reduction in the time needed for users to find parking
- 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions
- More than 35 percent increase in parking fee revenues
- Insights to usage trends to help MBPP & MBSP plan future parking projects
- Parking Occupancy Analysis based on trend data
- User-friendly, Cashless Payment for COVID-safe parking
0G Network Operator
Xperanti IoT is Malaysia’s first and largest dedicated nationwide IoT network, providing Industrial IoT solutions through exclusive access to Sigfox’s global 0G Network technology.
HeiTech Padu Berhad is a global ICT systems and technology service provider for government agencies and the commercial sector.
City Council of Penang Island ( MBPP) & City Council of Seberang Perai (MBSP) Local City Council in Pulau Pinang.
The City Councils of Penang (MBPP & MBSP) is responsible for urban planning, heritage preservation, public health, sanitation, waste management, traffic management, environmental protection, building control, social and economic development, and infrastructure maintenance for the state of Penang.
As part of its Penang 2030 vision, the MBPP & MBSP launched a smart city initiative. Its goal was to improve outdoor parking space utilisation, reduce traffic congestion, and improve the convenience of parking payments for citizens. As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted local communities, the MBPP & MBSP wanted a contactless COVID-safe payment system for citizens. A final requirement was to save law enforcement officers time manually patrolling parking lots and issuing penalty notices.
The MBPP & MBSP needed a cost-effective, low maintenance, reliable smart parking solution able to withstand the environmental conditions in 36,000 outdoor parking locations across Penang.
Smart Parking System for Penang 2030
MBPP & MBSP engaged HeiTech Padu Berhad (HeiTech) to develop the Penang Smart Parking (PSP) system because of its proven track record of developing mission critical project and deploying smart ICT initiatives. HeiTech developed a solution connecting surface-mounted IoT-enabled devices in each parking space to a central dashboard via the Xperanti IoT 0G Network.
Xperanti IoT operates Malaysia’s first and largest dedicated nationwide IoT 0G network, powered by Sigfox technology. The 0G Network is the public, low-cost, low-power wide-area network dedicated to connecting industrial Internet of Things (IoT) devices over long distances.
Surface mounting the IoT-enabled devices in each car space takes less than 30 minutes. Each device is raised slightly above the road’s surface and painted yellow to improve visibility for drivers, citizens, and cyclists. The bright colour and raised surface alert Penang’s aged and vision-impaired citizens when they walk across a parking space.
Each device has a signal range of up to 20 km and comes with an IP67 weatherproof housing. The surface mounting is highly secure and all devices are powered by a long-life lithium battery that lasts 7-10 years and require no wiring or maintenance.
How the Penang Smart Parking System works
When a vehicle enters the parking space, the sensor detects its presence and instantly updates the central dashboard, via the 0G Network, that the area is occupied. The central dashboard is available to citizens via a smartphone application, giving real-time visibility to parking availability at their destination before they depart. The app is available for the Huawei App Gallery and for Android and iOS smartphones. Based on patterns of car park usage, the app also gives users insight into typical parking availability at the expected arrival time at their destination.
Once a user parks in the bay, the app enables contactless real-time payment with an e-wallet to process digital transactions. There is no need for citizens to leave their vehicle, manage parking coupons or remember to place tickets on their dashboard as proof of payment. The app sends real-time notifications to users when parking time is about to expire. If a user needs to stay in their parking space longer than planned, the app supports real-time extension payments made remotely. Finally, the app offers users the option to view and pay for compound and monthly parking passes.
The MBPP & MBSP facilities management team accesses the central dashboard for reliable, fast updates on parking space utilisation and trend data. These insights improve decision-making around Penang’s future car parking facilities. Data-based information on parking space utilisation and payment status let the MBPP & MBSP target law enforcement by saving officers time and cost from patrolling car parking spaces on foot and manually issuing penalty notices.
Small data delivers big outcomes for Penangaites
Since launching the Penang Smart Parking System in Aug 2019, user adoption has been significant. To date, over 600,000 vehicle owners have downloaded the app. The PSP helps reduce the growing number of vehicles that contribute to Penang’s traffic congestion. Citizens experience fast, easy parking with a 50 percent reduction in time needed to find a parking space.
Faster parking helps the community save time and fuel costs searching for vacant parking lots around Penang. With fewer cars on the road, CO2 emissions have reduced by as much as 30 percent. The SPS also gives the MBPP & MBSP the flexibility to ensure priority parking is available for vulnerable community members and emergency vehicles.
The parking payment system is convenient and quick as users no longer need to physically pay parking fees over the counter at city council offices and establishments. The flexible, user-friendly, fast payment features help citizens avoid parking penalties.
The COVID-safe payment experience is quick, convenient. It helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 by minimising physical contact between citizens at public parking spaces. The MBPP & MBSP improved revenue growth more that 35 percent through targeted parking penalty enforcement and reducing the costs of officers manually monitoring parking spaces.
The future of Penang’s Smart Parking System
The PSP solution is one of 73 smart projects across Penang. The MBPP & MBSP continues to explore ways to improve citizen benefits through integration with other smart city initiatives. In 2021 and beyond, the project will experience upgrades, extensions, and improvements to its application features. HeiTech developed a PSP eCoupon, and shared it with 422 registered agents, to assist senior citizens and community members without smartphones to manage and pay for parking.
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